Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: How I Became a Grumpy Old Builder (in Microcosm)

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  • David Haywood,

    Apologies to Russell for going the way of The Listener in terms of subject matter. The good news is that my house hasn’t made me fat.

    I should also point out that I could have chosen any one of about 700 annoying jobs to complain about in this piece. These just happened to be the ones that I’ve snapped with my phone for various reasons.

    By the way, the jobs that have really made me tear out (the remainder of) my hair have involved fixing the work done in 1998 by a proper registered builder (prior to our ownership of the house). The Lovely Ian Dalziel TM dubbed this chap “the Millennialist Builder” on account of the fact that he (the builder) clearly believed the world would end in the year 2000 – and performed his carpentry with this very much in mind.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Judi Lapsley Miller,

    The house is looking beautiful!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Beautiful work David, not quite sure which, is best, your writing or your beautiful joinery skills
    Very impressive

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Judi Lapsley Miller,

    Attachment

    The house is looking beautiful!

    You’re very kind, Judy. For comparison purposes, here is (nearly) that same view of the sitting room just prior to starting the relocation. The big hole is the fireplace.

    not quite sure which, is best, your writing or your beautiful joinery skills

    You’re also very kind, Raymond. It’s my joinery skills at the moment, alas…

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    rail life...
    A perfect exemplification of a tale that never loses in the towelling...

    Long may your missing escutcheon stay unblotted, sir!

    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to David Haywood,

    Apologies to Russell for going the way of The Listener in terms of subject matter.

    Not at all, David!

    Home renovation is pretty much the media's salvation at this point in humanity's long cultural march.

    That's why The Block will be on TV3 three times a week this year -- it's the only thing people will watch any more. And I see this as a very long, very slow version of The Block.

    But I do think there's a missing competitive element here. I propose that I use the proceeds of Public Address's recent crowdfunding to acquire an adjacent property and install a family in which another highly-credentialed householder -- a physicist, say -- pursues a similarly endless, admirable restoration mission, writing occasional blog posts about his fitful progress.

    At weekends, Dunsandel's roading network would be jammed with Public Address readers driving past for a look. I am quite sure this presents a unique opportunity for the right sponsor.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Great stuff, David! You have been missed 'round these parts.

    This is a welcome alternative to the excesses of The Living Channel, which my beloved subjects me to. Last night some fellow seemed to be making a house out of compacted cow poo,

    You didn't consider mowing your meadow? Cows up here would appreciate such green fodder.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • JonathanM,

    Great work David! Being about three-quarters of the way through renovating our place, my wife and I fully appreciate the 'everything is about 95% done'. The bathroom floor needs relaying. The toilet is just sitting there (waiting on the floor to be redone). No mirror in the bathroom. Various hooks for hanging things tacked temporarily in place. The joy of an old house mid-renovation. :)

    Your work looks superb. I am extremely envious of that saw and buzzer!

    Since Jul 2012 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    I'm awestruck at your attention to the minutiae David. It takes such focus to keep going right to the end. The house is stunning. Noticing the details and remembering that task will be a constant quiet pleasure over your life in the house.

    I have been a house renovator for 25 years, and the enthusiasm of youth has evaporated with serial properties, children and gardens. (I have resolved to never again strip a kilometre of ornate 14-inch skirting boards. I cannot get excited about seeing the earth between the living-room floorboards where the piles have risen and the structural wall has sunk.) So if you're looking for another character rimu towel rail for the back of a door, I happen to have a pretty example in the shed. Needs stripping naturally...

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    It's great what you've achieved, David, but IMHO you should cut back on the obsession. You've come away from disaster with something that is a lovely place to live in, after all that hard work.

    So live in it.

    Budget out your time for the remaining hundreds of tasks - you're now in the same situation as pretty much every house owner in NZ. I've also got hundreds of little tasks that seem to really stretch out. But I'm determined to also have a life in the meantime. A towel on a hook will do. Long grass will only be a millimeter longer tomorrow, and a mowed patch is better than no patch.

    Unless, of course, you secretly love it. I can never be sure, with people who obsess about finishing projects with a neverending horizon of perfection. It is certainly fulfilling. I guess the question is "do you like being a Grumpy Old Builder?". If not, scale back, become "Smug Old Character Villa Owner". I know which one I'd rather be. But that is me (and I will probably never own a character villa).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Amazing effort David and amazing results. To take the time, energy and cost to do a renovation this way is something to be proud of.

    It's something you don't see a lot of now, usually the renovation of a Villa involves 10 litre pails of white paint or worse complete removal and replacement with something that looks like it was designed in Minecraft.

    What you need to do is start a Dunsandel Grumpy Men's Yoga branch.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/9853758/Yoga-just-for-grumps

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Last night some fellow seemed to be making a house out of compacted cow poo,

    It's called a cob house Geoff! Cob! straw and mud. Bloddy cheap...... ;) and sorry but Grand Designs shits all over Living Canal. I'm quite enjoying The Art of the Architect too.
    Bearing in mind that t'other as we type is still "finishing" our house. He has taken to a working day of,Coffee, 4 hours on, beer.
    Exclnt work David, grumpy , yes, comes with the territory. I think I'm a very understanding partner in our journey. It is best that we haven't heard from you, that way we still care if you live or not as I sometimes feel. I mean really. Can you explain why every single tread in our spiralling staircase has forms and degrees and blah blah blah...... :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s great what you’ve achieved, David, but IMHO you should cut back on the obsession.

    Mind chatter does not allow these types to scale back. That is why man invented Beer or so I'm told.
    David, have you got the brewery up and running? Been very helpful for us. One brewery for builders help doth make. One brewery for many hands doth help ;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    if it's helpful, we've longed adopted the philosophy wabi-sabi for consideration of our Manor.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Beagle,

    I'm still giggling at: "Apologies to Russell for going the way of The Listener in terms of subject matter. The good news is that my house hasn’t made me fat."

    New Zealand • Since Nov 2007 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • kiwicmc,

    The house looks amazing, and I love your meadow - lawn? I think not

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since May 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Apologies to Russell for going the way of The Listener in terms of subject matter

    Listener or Metro ? Your next post should be about school zones I think.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I also have the problem of 95%. But I'm also fond of the saying "house finished, man die" which I think has been horribly mistranslated from Chinese but works for me.

    At some point you have to figure out how to love doing the work, for me that means I do random jobs around the house in random order as the mood takes me - it makes the jobs fun rather than a chore - however, the risk of marital dispute can raise a chore into the fun category remarkably quickly.

    I'm very jealous of your table saw, or rather the space you have to use one, those old machines were built heavy and solid.

    And like everyone else I have to say your joinery looks amazing, I know how hard it can be to get those details just right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    You know what they say mate, the only thing that works in a Villa is the owners!

    #fellowvillaownersympathy

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Mind chatter does not allow these types to scale back. That is why man invented Beer or so I’m told.

    I thought he invented it to give it to Woman, in order to make Child :-)

    Bearing in mind that t’other as we type is still “finishing” our house. He has taken to a working day of,Coffee, 4 hours on, beer.

    I'm quite keen to check that out some day soon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to BenWilson,

    I thought he invented it to give it to Woman, in order to make Child :-)

    Well he knows not this woman.

    I’m quite keen to check that out some day soon.

    The beer or the house?.I'm sure he'd say yes to both. I don't mind. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to BenWilson,

    I thought he invented it to give it to Woman, in order to make Child :-)

    Beer almost certainly invented by women.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Beer almost certainly invented by women.

    Makes a good Tui commercial.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Emma Hart,

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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